Street Food is perhaps the best gastronomical introduction to a city – its ingredients, flavours and spices are the easiest way to get under the skin or umm … into the stomach of a city. Each city in India has its own list of street food to boast about and just sampling could mean days of eating on the streets. From the most scrumptious vada paos in Mumbai to the roadside chat in Delhi, the freshest bhajjis/pakoras (fritters) in Conoor, thin-crisp-butter-laden dosas in Bangalore, melt-in-your-mouth puchkas in Kolkata … the list is obviously (and fortunately) endless and all you need to know is what to what to eat where.
So you're in Bangalore and in Talking Street style, hitting the street food stalls is what's on your mind. (If it isn't, you have no clue what you're missing. :P) Just pack away the work stuff, put on comfortable footwear, carry a bottle of water and get started on a culinary experience that meanders from on-the-street stalls to cozy cafés depending on what you're in the mood for. Of course, don't forget to carry a print of this document.
For a very basic list of the local food you MUST try in Bangalore – refer to this link.
Here's a no-nonsense guide to specific street food joints around Royal Orchid Hotel.
This is how it works. The name of the stall / join is followed by what it serves with some indication of what’s good. Unless stated, please assume that the joints do not provide seating and the food has to be had on the street. For more details, click through to the detailed post on Talking Street which covers what to order (and in some cases, how to order), geo-location and directions with landmarks.
Royal Orchid Hotel is located on Old Airport Road. Most of the joints mentioned below are walking distance from the hotel.
Anand Sweets - Delhi-style Chaat. Wide variety of sweets -each one worth trying if you can afford the calories.
Chai Point – Hot & Cold Tea. Snacks. To wash it all down.
Srinidhi Sagar – Simply superb South-Indian Tiffin. Good Chaat. Full meals – North-Indian / South-Indian / Chinese. Filter coffee. Lemon tea. Regular Chai.
Manipal Canteen – Vada Pao (among the best in Bangalore). South-Indian Tiffin. Chaats. Meals. Filter coffee. Chai.
Kolkata Rolls – Veg. and Non-veg. Kolkata Style rolls.
Sethji – North Indian Home Food. Paranthas. Thali. A la carte.
Old Airport Road is right next to Indira Nagar, which is better known for its fine-dine restaurants, micro breweries and pubs. But it has a huge street food scene, if you're willing to look for it and experiment.
Let's break this up further into two parts (since Indira Nagar is quite spread out).
The first list is Double Road, Indira Nagar and Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir Road, just off Double Road, opposite ESI Hospital.
Kitchen of Joy – Bengali street food served in a café. Decent Rolls. Good Chai (especially their Lemon Tea). Sweets – the Rasogullas are almost as good as Kolkata. Cozy Café, good for a chat / adda.
Tea Brew – Great Momos. Good Tea. Decent Pakoras. Café with space to sit.
Khan Saheb – Very good rolls. Good Kebabs. Tikkas – their Paneer tikka is among the best in Bangalore.
Om Sai Skanda – Superlative Tamil-style South-Indian tiffin.
Lassi Point – Refreshing Lassi / Smoothies. Delicious Milkshakes. Good Juices. Average Sundaes.
String it together and you have the Shirdi Sai Temple Road Street Food Trail.
Next up is the Rest of Indira Nagar – mainly CMH Rd, Jeevan Bhima Nagar Main Rd, 100 feet Road and 80 feet Road.
99 varieties dosa – Dosas with a twist – Dosa+ tomato-based gravy+ different fillings. Highly recommended.
Spicy Corner – Indian-style Chinese. Gobi Munchurian (Cauliflower prepared in Indian-Chinese style). Noodles. Fried Rice.
Thunder Fried Chicken – Kerela-style non-veg. Especially Chicken Shawarma. Chicken kabas.
Bite Me Cupcakes – Mini cupcakes. Just the right size to allow sampling more than 2.
Sharon Tea Stall – Small roadside Tea Stall serving exotic varieties of tea and coffee – including Hibiscus, Lemon-Mint-Ginger, Apple-Mango.
Juice Center – Oreo Shake. Soya Bean Cheese Sandwich.
Laddoos – Chole Bhature. Pani Puri. Paranthas. Jalebis (Indian sweet meats). Aloo Tikkis. Has seating.
VV Puram is Bangalore's most famous Food Street and a complete must-do for anyone visiting or staying in Bangalore. Till you get there and try the food, you really don't know what you're missing. This guide attempts to cover almost each of the outlets starting from when one enters the street at Sajjan Rao Circle. Before that a few basic guidelines about this food street and what we suggest you keep in mind while planning this gastronomical adventure.
Now a quick overview of the food before we get into the specifics of what each of the joints serve. There are about 15 outlets serving different types of food (listed below outlet by outlet). We would classify the food varieties into the following categories in decreasing order of specialty – from must-have to do-try to not-what-this-is-known-for. That is not to say that food listed in the last category is not good – it’s just not what this street is known for. Also, some of those in the last category are relatively new additions to this otherwise old food street, and purists that we are, we would like to call them out.
Koramangala is another of Bangalore's hip and happening party and food districts, housing restaurants specializing in any cuisine you can think of. It is 4 kms from Royal Orchid down a straight road – the intermediate ring road. Koramangala has super interesting street-side joints, standing shoulder to shoulder with their more sophisticated, up-market cousins. An interesting Rajasthani place, a hole-in-the-wall Tibetian joint, Bhajji Carts, Pao Bhaji vans … lots to explore in this part of the city.
(Quick advice on the traffic scene. Getting from Royal Orchid to Koramangala can take anywhere from 7 mins to 45 mins – it is a simple function of the time of day and traffic scenario. During office hours (read 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM and 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM) the 45 min time frame is what you should budget for.)
It’s worth splitting Koramangala into two sections. The area around Jyoti Nivas College has a buzzing student vibe. Then there is 80 ft Rd Koramangala that has what could be called the Koramangala Food Street for the string of street-side food stalls it hosts. (Koramangala actually had a food street (read about it here) which was relocated by the Municipal authorities a few months ago. There is hope that the authorities will allow the vendors to come back and set up the street the way it was but for now all the vendors have relocated from there.)
Like the area surrounding any college, the streets around JNC are dotted with a variety of eateries and street food stalls patronised for good reason by the students whom they serve.
Here are a few that you could check out:
Hatti Kaapi - Superlative filter coffee. Best of South-Indian tiffin snacks – Maddur Vada, Masala Bun, Vada Pao, Idly, Vada. Hazelnut Cold Coffee.
Khawa Karpo – Hole-in-the-wall Tibetan joint frequented by students. Thukpa, Honey Potato Wedges, Ting-Mo and Chicken Shap-tak.
Juice Junction – Freshly prepared fruit juices, fruit salad.
Soori Chats – South-Indian Bhel Puri.
String them together to form the Koramangala Jyoti Nivas Food Trail. This area is full of eateries of varying budgets. Among the mid-range restaurants you could also try Meghana Biryani for Andhra style biryani, Empire Restaurant for Dosa Chicken and Truffles Ice and Spice for continental cuisine.
After the Koramangala Food Street ran into trouble with the municipal authorities, this has become the next most famous string of street food joints in this area.
99 Varieties Dosa – Dosas with a twist. Served with a red curry and different customized fillings such as mushrooms, paneer, cheese, cauliflower, peas, spinach, baby corn etc.
Momo Counter – Veg and Chicken momos served hot.
Mumbai Pao Bhaji Van – Pao Bhaji that has been certified by die-hard Mumbai pao bhaji fans to be authentic Chowpati Pao Bhaji.
Further up this road are some interesting street-side eateries such as Rolls on Wheels for good Kati Rolls and Mumbai Kulfi (an Indian version of Ice-creams. Totally worth a try!) and Bhukaad which does good sandwiches. There are also some cozy cafés such as Claytopia and Mustard Café serving continental main course and great desserts.